Childhood Ependymoma
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Childhood Brain Tumours

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Latest Research Publications

This list of publications is regularly updated (Source: PubMed).

Sabin ND, Merchant TE, Li X, et al.
Quantitative imaging analysis of posterior fossa ependymoma location in children.
Childs Nerv Syst. 2016; 32(8):1441-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/08/2017 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Imaging descriptions of posterior fossa ependymoma in children have focused on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal and local anatomic relationships with imaging location only recently used to classify these neoplasms. We developed a quantitative method for analyzing the location of ependymoma in the posterior fossa, tested its effectiveness in distinguishing groups of tumors, and examined potential associations of distinct tumor groups with treatment and prognostic factors.
METHODS: Pre-operative MRI examinations of the brain for 38 children with histopathologically proven posterior fossa ependymoma were analyzed. Tumor margin contours and anatomic landmarks were manually marked and used to calculate the centroid of each tumor. Landmarks were used to calculate a transformation to align, scale, and rotate each patient's image coordinates to a common coordinate space. Hierarchical cluster analysis of the location and morphological variables was performed to detect multivariate patterns in tumor characteristics. The ependymomas were also characterized as "central" or "lateral" based on published radiological criteria. Therapeutic details and demographic, recurrence, and survival information were obtained from medical records and analyzed with the tumor location and morphology to identify prognostic tumor characteristics.
RESULTS: Cluster analysis yielded two distinct tumor groups based on centroid location The cluster groups were associated with differences in PFS (p = .044), "central" vs. "lateral" radiological designation (p = .035), and marginally associated with multiple operative interventions (p = .064).
CONCLUSIONS: Posterior fossa ependymoma can be objectively classified based on quantitative analysis of tumor location, and these classifications are associated with prognostic and treatment factors.

Pérez-Ramírez M, Hernández-Jiménez AJ, Guerrero-Guerrero A, et al.
Genomics and epigenetics: A study of ependymomas in pediatric patients.
Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2016; 144:53-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: We identify chromosomal alterations, the methylation pattern and gene expression changes in pediatric ependymomas.
METHODS: CGH microarray, methylation and gene expression were performed through the Agilent platform. The results were analyzed with the software MatLab, MapViewer, DAVID, GeneCards and Hippie.
RESULTS: Amplification was found in 14q32.33, 2p22.3 and 8p22, and deletion was found in 8p11.23-p11.22 and 1q21.3. We observed 42.387 CpG islands with changes in their methylation pattern, in which we found 272 genes involved in signaling pathways related to carcinogenesis. We found 481 genes with altered expression. The genes IMMT, JHDMD1D, ASAH1, ZWINT, IPO7, GNAO1 and CISD3 were found to be altered among the three levels.
CONCLUSION: The 2p22.3, 8p11.23-p11.22 and 14q32.33 regions were identified as the most important; the changes in the methylation pattern related to cell cycle and cancer genes occurred in MIB2, FGF18 and ITIH5. The IPO7, GNAO1 and ASAH1 genes may play a major role in ependymoma development.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Kleinschmidt-DeMasters BK, Donson AM, Richmond AM, et al.
SOX10 Distinguishes Pilocytic and Pilomyxoid Astrocytomas From Ependymomas but Shows No Differences in Expression Level in Ependymomas From Infants Versus Older Children or Among Molecular Subgroups.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016; 75(4):295-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
SOX10 is important in nonneoplastic oligodendroglial development, but mRNA transcripts and protein expression are identified in a wider variety of CNS glial neoplasms than oligodendrogliomas. We previously demonstrated high levels of SOX10 mRNA and protein in pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs) but not ependymomas (EPNs). We now extend these studies to investigate subsets of these 2 tumors that affect infants, pilomyxoid astrocytomas (PMAs) and infant (<1 year) ependymomas (iEPNs). By gene expression microarray analysis, we found that iEPNs and all EPNs in older children showed very low SOX10 expression levels, on average 7.1-fold below normal control tissues. EPN groups showed no significant difference in SOX10 expression between iEPN and EPN. PAs/PMAs had 24.1/29.4-fold higher transcript levels, respectively, than those in normal tissues. Using immunohistochemical analysis of adult, pediatric, and infantile EPNs and of PAs/PMAs, we found that EPNs from multiple anatomical locations and both age groups (n = 228) never showed 3+ diffuse nuclear immunostaining for SOX10; the majority were scored at 0 or 1+. Conversely, almost all pediatric and adult PAs and PMAs (n = 47) were scored as 3+. These results suggest that in select settings, SOX10 immunohistochemistry can supplement the diagnosis of PMA and PA and aid in distinguishing them from EPNs.

Related: Childhood Astrocytoma Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours SOX10

Braoudaki M, Lambrou GI, Giannikou K, et al.
miR-15a and miR-24-1 as putative prognostic microRNA signatures for pediatric pilocytic astrocytomas and ependymomas.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(7):9887-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the current setting, we attempted to verify and validate miRNA candidates relevant to pediatric primary brain tumor progression and outcome, in order to provide data regarding the identification of novel prognostic biomarkers. Overall, 26 resected brain tumors were studied from children diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs) (n = 19) and ependymomas (EPs) (n = 7). As controls, deceased children who underwent autopsy and were not present with any brain malignancy were used. The experimental approach included microarrays covering 1211 miRNAs. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed to validate the expression profiles of miR-15a and miR-24-1. The multiparameter analyses were performed with MATLAB. Matching differentially expressed miRNAs were detected in both PAs and EPs, following distinct comparisons with the control cohort; however, in several cases, they exhibited tissue-specific expression profiles. On correlations between miRNA expression and EP progression or outcome, miR-15a and miR-24-1 were found upregulated in EP relapsed and EP deceased cases when compared to EP clinical remission cases and EP survivors, respectively. Taken together, following several distinct associations between miRNA expression and diverse clinical parameters, the current study repeatedly highlighted miR-15a and miR-24-1 as candidate oncogenic molecules associated with inferior prognosis in children diagnosed with ependymoma.

Related: Childhood Astrocytoma MicroRNAs

Steinbok P, Gopalakrishnan CV, Hengel AR, et al.
Pediatric thalamic tumors in the MRI era: a Canadian perspective.
Childs Nerv Syst. 2016; 32(2):269-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Thalamic gliomas are rare. The natural history is unpredictable, and the optimal management of these tumors in children is poorly defined. The aim was to identify outcomes, prognostic factors, and response to various modalities of treatment in a relatively large population of pediatric thalamic tumors from many centers within a fairly homogeneous health care system.
METHODS: We performed a Canadian multicenter retrospective review of pediatric thalamic tumors presenting during the MRI era (1989-2012). Radiology and pathology were reviewed by central independent reviewers. Paraffin shavings for RNA extraction were taken and tested for fusion events involving KIAA1549:BRAF. Tumors were classified as unilateral or bithalamic based on their origin on imaging. Univariate and multivariate analyses on factors influencing survival were performed.
RESULTS: Seventy-two thalamic tumors were identified from 11 institutions. Females represented 53% of the study population, and the mean age at presentation was 8.9 years. Sixty-two tumors were unilateral and 10 bithalamic. Unilateral tumors had a greater propensity to grow inferiorly towards the brainstem. These tumors were predominantly low grade in comparison to bithalamic tumors which were high-grade astrocytomas. The 5-year overall survival was 61 ± 13% for unithalamic tumors compared to 37 ± 32% for bithalamic tumors (p = 0.097). Multivariate analysis indicated tumor grade as the only significant prognostic factor for unithalamic tumors. Six unilateral tumors, all low grade, were BRAF fusion positive.
CONCLUSION: Unilateral and bilateral thalamic tumors behave differently. Surgical resection is an appropriate treatment option in unilateral tumors, most of which are low grade, but outcome is not related to extent of resection (EOR). Bilateral thalamic tumors have a poorer prognosis, but the occasional patient does remarkably well. The efficacy of chemotherapy and radiotherapy has not been clearly demonstrated. Novel therapeutic approaches are required to improve the prognosis for malignant unilateral thalamic tumors and bilateral thalamic tumors.

Related: Childhood Astrocytoma Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors Canada Brain Stem Glioma - Childhood

Wright KD, Daryani VM, Turner DC, et al.
Phase I study of 5-fluorouracil in children and young adults with recurrent ependymoma.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(12):1620-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We report a phase I study to examine the pharmacokinetics, safety, and recommended dosage of weekly intravenous bolus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in children and young adults with recurrent ependymoma.
METHODS: Patients 22 years of age or less with recurrent ependymoma were treated with bolus dosage 5-FU weekly for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week rest period, defining one cycle. Patients could continue on therapy for 16 cycles. The starting 5-FU dosage was 500 mg/m(2). Dose-limiting toxicity was determined after one cycle. Patients were initially enrolled according to a rolling-6 design; subsequent dose re-escalation phase was based on a 3 + 3 design.
RESULTS: We treated patients at 400 (n = 6), 500 (n = 15), and 650 (n = 5) mg/m(2), with de-escalation due to toxicity. Twenty-three of twenty-six patients enrolled were evaluable. Five patients experienced grade 4 neutropenia (n = 2: 650 mg/m(2); n = 3: 500 mg/m(2)). One patient experienced grade 3 diarrhea. At 500 mg/m(2), the median 5-FU maximal concentration, AUC0-∞, and alpha half-life were 825 µM, 205 µM × h, and 9.9 min, respectively. Interim analysis revealed an association between hematologic toxicity and prior number of chemotherapeutic regimens (P = .03). The study was amended to re-escalate the dosage in a less heavily pretreated cohort of patients.
CONCLUSIONS: These phase I clinical data provide initial pharmacokinetic parameters to describe i.v. bolus 5-FU disposition in children with recurrent ependymoma. Tumor exposures effective in preclinical testing can be achieved with tolerable bolus dosages in patients. Bolus 5-FU is well tolerated and possesses antitumor activity.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors Fluorouracil

Crotty EE, Meier ER, Wells EM, et al.
Anaplastic Ependymoma in a Child With Sickle Cell Anemia: A Case Report Highlighting Treatment Challenges for Young Children With Central Nervous System Tumors and Underlying Vasculopathy.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016; 63(3):547-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
A 3-year-old boy with sickle cell anemia (SCA) presented with progressive daily emesis and was found to have an anaplastic ependymoma. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are usually employed after subtotal resections of anaplastic ependymomas, although the benefits from chemotherapy are unclear. To mitigate the risks of adjuvant treatment in this patient at risk for SCA-associated vasculopathy, renal impairment, and other end-organ damage, proton beam irradiation without chemotherapy was chosen. Scheduled packed red blood cell transfusions were instituted to maintain sickle hemoglobin levels less than 30%. This case highlights treatment complexities for malignant brain tumors in patients predisposed to treatment-related adverse effects.

Bandopadhayay P, Silvera VM, Ciarlini PD, et al.
Myxopapillary ependymomas in children: imaging, treatment and outcomes.
J Neurooncol. 2016; 126(1):165-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs) are rare spinal tumors in children. The natural history and clinical course of pediatric MPEs are largely unknown and the indication for adjuvant therapy remains to be clarified. We performed an IRB-approved, retrospective review of children with MPEs treated at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorder Center between 1982 and 2013. Eighteen children (age range 8-21 years, median age 14 years) met inclusion criteria. We reviewed the histopathology, magnetic resonance imaging, tumor location and stage, surgical management, adjuvant therapy, and clinical outcomes. The median follow-up duration was 9.4 years (range 1-30 years). Children most commonly presented with pain, scoliosis, and urinary symptoms. All primary tumors were located in the lower thoracic or lumbar spine. Nine children (50%) had leptomeningeal tumor seeding at presentation, most commonly located within the distal thecal sac. A gross-total resection was achieved in nine children (50%). Three children were treated with irradiation following initial surgery. No child received adjuvant chemotherapy at diagnosis. The 10-year event-free survival (EFS) was 26% ± 14.8. Children with disseminated disease trended towards inferior EFS compared to those with localized disease (10-year EFS 12.7% ± 12 vs. 57 ± 25%, p value 0.07). The 10-year overall survival was 100%. The efficacy of adjuvant irradiation could not be assessed due to the small sample size. Although children with MPEs frequently present with disseminated tumor and/or develop recurrent or progressive disease, their overall survival is excellent. Treatment should aim to minimize both tumor- and therapy-related morbidity.

Related: Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours

Lin FY, Chintagumpala M
Advances in Management of Pediatric Ependymomas.
Curr Oncol Rep. 2015; 17(10):47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ependymomas are a heterogeneous group of neuroepithelial tumors of children and adults. In pediatric cases, the standard of care has long consisted of neurosurgical resection to the greatest extent acceptable followed by adjuvant involved field irradiation. Complete macroscopic surgical resection has remained the only consistent clinical variable known to improve survival. Adjuvant chemotherapy has yet to predictably affect outcome, possibly due to the molecular heterogeneity of histologically similar tumors. The administration of chemotherapy subsequently remains limited to clinical trials. However, recent comprehensive genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic interrogations of ependymomas have uncovered unique molecular characteristics and subtypes that correlated with clinical features such as age, neuroanatomical location, and prognosis. These findings represent a potential paradigm shift and provide a biologic rationale for targeted therapeutic strategies and risk-adapted administration of conventional treatment modalities. In this review, we focus on intracranial WHO grade II and III ependymoma of children and discuss conventional management strategies, followed by recent biologic findings and novel therapeutics currently under investigation.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Kun Y, Duan Z, Mei X, et al.
A rare case of malignant pediatric ectomesenchymoma arising from the cerebrum.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015; 8(7):8545-50 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Malignant ectomesenchymoma is a rare tumor that contains both ectodermal and mesenchymal elements. So far, only 7 patients with a manifestation in the cerebrum (with confirmed clinicopathological data) have been reported. A 4-year-old girl was present at our hospital with a 3-week history of intermittent sudden dizzy with no apparent cause. MRI showed an irregular enhanced lesion in the left frontal-parietal lobe and lateral ventricle with peripheral gadolinium-enhancement with a significant surrounding edema. Total removal of the tumor was performed. Histological examination of the resected tumor revealed a mixed astrocytoma and anaplastic ependymoma component with undifferentiated mesenchymal spindle cell component. Generally speaking, the main malignant part in most cases of malignant ectomesenchymoma (MEM) is the mesenchymal component. In the present case, the malignant component was both in the mesenchymal and ectodermal part. In particular, the mesenchymal part was mainly composed of spindle cells, and the ectodermal part primarily consisted of gliomatous component and anaplastic ependymoma component. The patient was then treated with chemotherapy and as regard to the prognosis, there was no evidence of tumor recurrence at the 5 months' follow-up. The long term follow-up is still in progress.

Komori K, Yanagisawa R, Miyairi Y, et al.
Temozolomide Treatment for Pediatric Refractory Anaplastic Ependymoma with Low MGMT Protein Expression.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016; 63(1):152-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
The benefit of postoperative chemotherapy for anaplastic ependymoma remains unknown. We report two pediatric patients with refractory anaplastic ependymoma treated with temozolomide (TMZ). We did not detect O(6) -methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation in tumor samples; however, MGMT protein expression was low. With TMZ treatment, one patient had a 7-month complete remission; the other, stable disease for 15 months. Three other patients did not respond to TMZ; two had high and one low MGMT expression, and two showed no MGMT promoter methylation. These findings suggest that TMZ may be effective for pediatric refractory anaplastic ependymoma with low MGMT protein expression.

Related: Dacarbazine Temozolomide

Alexiou GA, Vartholomatos G, Stefanaki K, et al.
The Role of Fast Cell Cycle Analysis in Pediatric Brain Tumors.
Pediatr Neurosurg. 2015; 50(5):257-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry has not been adequately studied in pediatric brain tumors. We investigated the value of a modified rapid (within 6 min) cell cycle analysis protocol for the characterization of malignancy of pediatric brain tumors and for the differentiation of neoplastic from nonneoplastic tissue for possible intraoperative application. We retrospectively studied brain tumor specimens from patients treated at our institute over a 5-year period. All tumor samples were histopathologically verified before flow-cytometric analysis. The histopathological examination of permanent tissue sections was the gold standard. There were 68 brain tumor cases. All tumors had significantly lower G0/G1 and significantly higher S phase and mitosis fractions than normal brain tissue. Furthermore low-grade tumors could be differentiated from high-grade tumors. DNA aneuploidy was detected in 35 tumors. A correlation between S phase fraction and Ki-67 index was found in medulloblastomas and anaplastic ependymomas. Rapid cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry is a promising method for the identification of neoplastic tissue intraoperatively. Low-grade tumors could be differentiated from high-grade tumors. Thus, cell cycle analysis can be a valuable adjunct to the histopathological evaluation of pediatric brain tumors, whereas its intraoperative application warrants further investigation.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors MKI67 Childhood Medulloblastoma / PNET Medulloblastoma

Gunther JR, Sato M, Chintagumpala M, et al.
Imaging Changes in Pediatric Intracranial Ependymoma Patients Treated With Proton Beam Radiation Therapy Compared to Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015; 93(1):54-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The clinical significance of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes after radiation therapy (RT) in children with ependymoma is not well defined. We compared imaging changes following proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) to those after photon-based intensity modulated RT (IMRT).
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Seventy-two patients with nonmetastatic intracranial ependymoma who received postoperative RT (37 PBRT, 35 IMRT) were analyzed retrospectively. MRI images were reviewed by 2 neuroradiologists.
RESULTS: Sixteen PBRT patients (43%) developed postradiation MRI changes at 3.8 months (median) with resolution by 6.1 months. Six IMRT patients (17%) developed changes at 5.3 months (median) with 8.3 months to resolution. Mean age at radiation was 4.4 and 6.9 years for PBRT and IMRT, respectively (P = .06). Age at diagnosis (>3 years) and time of radiation (≥3 years) was associated with fewer imaging changes on univariate analysis (odds ratio [OR]: 0.35, P = .048; OR: 0.36, P = .05). PBRT (compared to IMRT) was associated with more frequent imaging changes, both on univariate (OR: 3.68, P = .019) and multivariate (OR: 3.89, P = .024) analyses. Seven (3 IMRT, 4 PBRT) of 22 patients with changes had symptoms requiring intervention. Most patients were treated with steroids; some PBRT patients also received bevacizumab and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. None of the IMRT patients had lasting deficits, but 2 patients died from recurrent disease. Three PBRT patients had persistent neurological deficits, and 1 child died secondarily to complications from radiation necrosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Postradiation MRI changes are more common with PBRT and in patients less than 3 years of age at diagnosis and treatment. It is difficult to predict causes for development of imaging changes that progress to clinical significance. These changes are usually self-limiting, but some require medical intervention, especially those involving the brainstem.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Sandberg DI, Rytting M, Zaky W, et al.
Methotrexate administration directly into the fourth ventricle in children with malignant fourth ventricular brain tumors: a pilot clinical trial.
J Neurooncol. 2015; 125(1):133-41 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
We hypothesize that chemotherapy can be safely administered directly into the fourth ventricle to treat recurrent malignant brain tumors in children. For the first time in humans, methotrexate was infused into the fourth ventricle in children with recurrent, malignant brain tumors. A catheter was surgically placed into the fourth ventricle and attached to a ventricular access device. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow was confirmed by CINE MRI postoperatively. Each cycle consisted of 4 consecutive daily methotrexate infusions (2 milligrams). Disease response was monitored with serial MRI scans and CSF cytologic analysis. Trough CSF methotrexate levels were sampled. Five patients (3 with medulloblastoma and 2 with ependymoma) received 18, 18, 12, 9, and 3 cycles, respectively. There were no serious adverse events or new neurological deficits attributed to methotrexate. Two additional enrolled patients were withdrawn prior to planned infusions due to rapid disease progression. Median serum methotrexate level 4 h after infusion was 0.04 µmol/L. Range was 0.02-0.13 µmol/L. Median trough CSF methotrexate level 24 h after infusion was 3.18 µmol/L (range 0.53-212.36 µmol/L). All three patients with medulloblastoma had partial response or stable disease until one patient had progressive disease after cycle 18. Both patients with ependymoma had progressive disease after 9 and 3 cycles, respectively. Low-dose methotrexate can be infused into the fourth ventricle without causing neurological toxicity. Some patients with recurrent medulloblastoma experience a beneficial anti-tumor effect both within the fourth ventricle and at distant sites.

Related: Childhood Medulloblastoma / PNET Medulloblastoma Methotrexate Malignant Rhabdoid Tumour

Eaton BR, Chowdhry V, Weaver K, et al.
Use of proton therapy for re-irradiation in pediatric intracranial ependymoma.
Radiother Oncol. 2015; 116(2):301-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To report disease control, survival and treatment-associated toxicity with the use of proton therapy (PRT) for re-irradiation of intracranial ependymoma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty patients underwent 33 PRT re-irradiation courses for recurrent or metastatic lesions between June 2004 and February 2015 at Massachusetts General Hospital.
RESULTS: The majority of patients were female (60%), with infratentorial tumors (90%), anaplastic histology (55%), and initially received 55.8 GyRBE (52.2-59.4) involved field (IF) PRT. First failure was local (55%), distant (30%) or both (15%) at a median time of 23.9 months (9.9-98.5) from first treatment. Salvage therapy included re-resection (75%), chemotherapy (60%) and IFPRT (70%) to a median dose 50.4 GyRBE (35-55.8) in the majority of patients. The median follow-up was 37.8 months (5.5-138.0). Three year OS and PFS are 78.6% (95% CI 67.6-89.6) and 28.1% (95% CI 15.6-40.6), respectively. Longer OS was significantly associated with surgical resection of recurrent disease (HR 9.19, 95% CI 1.27-66.44, p=0.028). The pattern of second failure after re-irradiation was directly related to the pattern of first failure (p<0.01). Three of 14 patients (21.4%) locally re-treated experienced grade 2 radiation-associated treatment change.
CONCLUSIONS: Proton therapy appears safe and efficacious for the re-treatment of recurrent intracranial ependymoma.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Coll G, Combes JD, Isfan F, et al.
Incidence and survival of childhood central nervous system tumors: A report of the regional registry of childhood cancers in Auvergne-Limousin.
Neurochirurgie. 2015; 61(4):237-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Central nervous system tumors (CNST) are the most lethal of solid tumors in childhood cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We report incidence and survival data for all CNST (International Classification of Diseases for Oncology third edition, category III or Xa) recorded in children under 15 years of age by the Auvergne-Limousin cancer registry for the period 1986-2009.
RESULTS: Annual incidence of all CNST was 3.27 per 100,000 and the male to female ratio was 0.95. Over 45.0% of CNST were glial. Astrocytomas (36.2%) showed the highest incidence for each age group except between 1 and 4 years where embryonal tumors were more common. For all CNST, no significant variation in incidence over time was observed for the evaluated period of 23 years (annual percent change: -0.4%, 95% CI, [-2.8-2.1]). Globally, 5 years overall survival was 67% [59-73] and had increased by more than 16% between 1986-1999 and 2000-2009, mainly due to better survival for astrocytomas, other gliomas, ependymomas and choroid plexus tumors (P=0.01).
CONCLUSION: We report that the incidence of CNST in Auvergne-Limousin is similar to that in the literature and did not increase between 1986 and 2009. In addition, 5 years overall survival increased after 1999, especially for surgically treatable tumors.

Related: Childhood Astrocytoma Brain and Spinal Cord Tumours Brain Stem Glioma - Childhood Germ Cell Tumors Germ Cell Tumours in Children and Young Adults Germ Cell Tumors (Pediatric)

Lundar T, Due-Tønnessen BJ, Krossnes B, et al.
Posterior fossa ependymoma in childhood: 60 years event-free survival after partial resection—a case report.
Childs Nerv Syst. 2015; 31(9):1573-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
A 13-year-old boy with severe clinical symptoms and signs underwent surgery for a posterior fossa ependymoma in 1954. The tumor was adjacent to the floor of the fourth ventricle, and surgery was complicated by profound bleeding. Therefore, only a partial resection was performed. Postoperative radiotherapy was given to the posterior fossa. The recovery was uneventful, and he has been in full-time work until the age of 62 years and is now 74 years old. Repeated MRI scans demonstrate a stable residual fourth ventricular tumor.

Frandsen JE, Wagner A, Bollo RJ, et al.
Long-term life expectancy for children with ependymoma and medulloblastoma.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015; 62(11):1986-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: There is a paucity of long-term follow-up data for children with intracranial ependymoma (IE) and medulloblastoma (MB). What happens to these children 20, 30, or 40 years after diagnosis? Do they have potential for a normal lifespan? The purpose of this study was to ascertain the long-term survival potential in children with MB or IE who have survived 5 years from diagnosis.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis was conducted using the SEER Program. Children (ages 0-19 years) from 1973 to 2011 with a diagnosis of MB or IE were identified. A cohort was created of potentially cured patients who survived 5 years from diagnosis. Cox proportional hazards models and Kaplan-Meier estimates were utilized to analyze long-term survival.
RESULTS: We identified 876 patients with MB and 474 patients with IE who were alive 5 years from diagnosis. Patients with MB had a 30-year overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) of 70.2% and 80.1%, respectively. Patients with IE had a 30-year OS and CSS of 57.3% and 68.8%, respectively. When comparing MB with IE, MB had improved CSS (P = 0.04) and trended toward increased OS (P = 0.10).
CONCLUSIONS: A significant number of deaths due to disease occur for several decades after treatment for both IE and MB. Despite this, the potential for long-term survival exists in 5-year survivors of both histologies. If alive at 5 years from diagnosis, patients with MB tend to have a lower risk of death from disease compared to those with IE.

Related: Childhood Medulloblastoma / PNET Medulloblastoma USA

Nowak J, Seidel C, Pietsch T, et al.
Systematic comparison of MRI findings in pediatric ependymoblastoma with ependymoma and CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumor not otherwise specified.
Neuro Oncol. 2015; 17(8):1157-65 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ependymoblastoma (EBL), ependymoma (EP), and primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system not otherwise specified (CNS-PNET NOS) are pediatric brain tumors that can be differentiated by histopathology in the clinical setting. Recently, we described specific MRI features of EBL. In this study, we compare standardized MRI characteristics of EBL with EP and CNS-PNET NOS in a series comprising 22 patients in each group.
METHODS: All 66 centrally reviewed cases were obtained from the database of the German multicenter HIT trials. We systematically analyzed the initial MRI scans at diagnosis according to standardized criteria, and paired comparison was performed for EBL and EP, as well as for EBL and CNS-PNET NOS.
RESULTS: We found differences between EBL and EP regarding age at diagnosis, MR signal intensity, tumor margin and surrounding edema, presence and size of cysts, and contrast enhancement pattern. Although MRI appearance of EBL shares many features with CNS-PNET NOS, we revealed significant differences in terms of age at diagnosis, tumor volume and localization, tumor margins, edema, and contrast enhancement.
CONCLUSION: This is the first study that systematically compares multiple parameters of MRI in pediatric EBL with findings in EP and CNS-PNET NOS. Although a definite differentiation by means of MRI alone might not be feasible in the individual case, we identify significant differences between these tumor entities.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors

Niwa T, Aida N, Fujii Y, et al.
Age-related changes of susceptibility-weighted imaging in subependymal nodules of neonates and children with tuberous sclerosis complex.
Brain Dev. 2015; 37(10):967-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To assess age-related changes in susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) and phase images of subependymal nodules (SENs) in neonates and children with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
METHODS: Images of 17 children (age range, 0-14years; mean, 5.5years) with TSC were retrospectively assessed. Changes in signals of SENs on SWI and filtered phase images were scored by two experienced radiologists using a three-point scale. The relation was assessed between patients' age and the average scores of SENs. The phase shift of SENs on the filtered phase image was also measured, and the correlation between age and phase shift was evaluated. Calcification in SENs on CT was compared to the finding on SWI and filtered phase image in four children.
RESULTS: No change in signal was found in neonates in SENs on both SWI and filtered phase image. There was a positive correlation between the average scores of SENs and patients' age on both SWI and filtered phase image (Spearman ρ=0.64, P=0.006; ρ=0.71, P=0.001, respectively). There was a negative correlation between the patients' age and mean phase shift (Spearman ρ=-0.86, P<0.001). Comparable or slight lower detectability of susceptibility changes was revealed in SENs on SWI and filtered phase image, compared to calcification on CT.
CONCLUSIONS: There are age-related changes in susceptibility and phase in SENs, which may reflect the appearance of calcification in children with TSC. No magnetically susceptible changes were detected in neonates, suggesting a lack of calcification.

Severino M, Consales A, Doglio M, et al.
Intradural Extramedullary Ependymoma with Leptomeningeal Dissemination: The First Case Report in a Child and Literature Review.
World Neurosurg. 2015; 84(3):865.e13-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Primary intradural extramedullary ependymomas are very rare tumors and have never been described in children.
CASE DESCRIPTION: We report on an 11-year-old girl presenting with a 1-month history of neck pain, left arm weakness, paresthesia in the fingers of the left hand and gait disturbances. Magnetic resonance imaging on admission revealed an intradural extramedullary cystic lesion at the cervical level with craniospinal leptomeningeal nodules causing mild hydrocephalus. The multicystic lesion was surgically removed and neuropathologic examination revealed a World Health Organization grade II ependymoma. The patient underwent adjuvant radiotherapy with progressive reduction of the metastatic nodules. At her 2-year follow-up, the patient was symptom free with no evidence of recurrence on magnetic resonance imaging.
CONCLUSIONS: Although a rare entity, intradural extramedullary ependymomas should be included in the differential diagnosis of intradural extramedullary lesions in children. Surgical treatment seems to play a pivotal role in the prognosis of these rare tumors, with a possible role for adjunctive radiotherapy in the case of recurrence, anaplastic transformation, and metastasis.

DeWire M, Fouladi M, Turner DC, et al.
An open-label, two-stage, phase II study of bevacizumab and lapatinib in children with recurrent or refractory ependymoma: a collaborative ependymoma research network study (CERN).
J Neurooncol. 2015; 123(1):85-91 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Co-expression of ERBB2 and ERBB4, reported in 75% of pediatric ependymomas, correlates with worse overall survival. Lapatinib, a selective ERBB1 and ERBB2 inhibitor has produced prolonged disease stabilization in patients with ependymoma in a phase I study. Bevacizumab exposure in ependymoma xenografts leads to ablation of tumor self-renewing cells, arresting growth. Thus, we conducted an open-label, phase II study of bevacizumab and lapatinib in children with recurrent ependymomas. Patients ≤ 21 years of age with recurrent ependymoma received lapatinib orally twice daily (900 mg/m(2)/dose to the first 10 patients, and then 700 mg/m(2)/dose) and bevacizumab 10 mg/kg intravenously on days 1 and 15 of a 28-day course. Lapatinib serum trough levels were analyzed prior to each course. Total and phosphorylated VEGFR2 expression was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) before doses 1 and 2 of bevacizumab and 24-48 h following dose 2 of bevacizumab. Twenty-four patients with a median age of 10 years (range 2-21 years) were enrolled; 22 were eligible and 20 evaluable for response. Thirteen had anaplastic ependymoma. There were no objective responses; 4 patients had stable disease for ≥ 4 courses (range 4-14). Grade 3 toxicities included rash, elevated ALT, and diarrhea. Grade 4 toxicities included peri-tracheostomy hemorrhage (n = 1) and elevated creatinine phosphokinase (n = 1). The median lapatinib pre-dose trough concentration was 3.72 µM. Although the combination of bevacizumab and lapatinib was well tolerated in children with recurrent ependymoma, it proved ineffective.

Related: Bevacizumab (Avastin) Lapatinib (Tyverb)

Mizumoto M, Oshiro Y, Takizawa D, et al.
Proton beam therapy for pediatric ependymoma.
Pediatr Int. 2015; 57(4):567-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of proton beam therapy for pediatric patients with ependymoma.
METHODS: Proton beam therapy was conducted for six patients (three boys and three girls; age, 2-6 years; median, 5 years) with ependymoma. The tumors were WHO grades 2 and 3 in two and four patients, respectively. All patients underwent surgery (subtotal and gross total resection in three patients each) and proton beam therapy at doses of 50.4-61.2 GyE (median, 56.7 GyE). The mean doses to normal brain tissue in proton beam therapy and photon radiotherapy were simulated using the same treatment planning computed tomography images.
RESULTS: All patients completed the planned irradiation. The follow-up period was 13-44 months (median, 24.5 months) from completion of proton beam therapy and all patients were alive at the end of this period. Local recurrence in the treatment field occurred in one patient at 4 months after proton beam therapy at 50.4 GyE. Alopecia and mild dermatitis occurred in all patients, but there was no severe toxicity. One patient had a once-off seizure after proton beam therapy and alopecia persisted in another patient for 31 months, but no patients had difficulty with daily life. The simulation showed that proton beam therapy reduces the dose to normal brain tissue by approximately half compared with photon radiotherapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Proton beam therapy for pediatric ependymoma is safe, does not have specific toxicities, and can reduce irradiation of normal brain tissue.

Patel YT, Jacus MO, Boulos N, et al.
Preclinical examination of clofarabine in pediatric ependymoma: intratumoral concentrations insufficient to warrant further study.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2015; 75(5):897-906 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Clofarabine, a deoxyadenosine analog, was an active anticancer drug in our in vitro high-throughput screening against mouse ependymoma neurospheres. To characterize the clofarabine disposition in mice for further preclinical efficacy studies, we evaluated the plasma and central nervous system disposition in a mouse model of ependymoma. A plasma pharmacokinetic study of clofarabine (45 mg/kg, IP) was performed in CD1 nude mice bearing ependymoma to obtain initial plasma pharmacokinetic parameters. These estimates were used to derive D-optimal plasma sampling time points for cerebral microdialysis studies. A simulation of clofarabine pharmacokinetics in mice and pediatric patients suggested that a dosage of 30 mg/kg IP in mice would give exposures comparable to that in children at a dosage of 148 mg/m(2). Cerebral microdialysis was performed to study the tumor extracellular fluid (ECF) disposition of clofarabine (30 mg/kg, IP) in the ependymoma cortical allografts. Plasma and tumor ECF concentration-time data were analyzed using a nonlinear mixed effects modeling approach. The median unbound fraction of clofarabine in mouse plasma was 0.79. The unbound tumor to plasma partition coefficient (K pt,uu: ratio of tumor to plasma AUCu,0-inf) of clofarabine was 0.12 ± 0.05. The model-predicted mean tumor ECF clofarabine concentrations were below the in vitro 1-h IC50 (407 ng/mL) for ependymoma neurospheres. Thus, our results show the clofarabine exposure reached in the tumor ECF was below that associated with an antitumor effect in our in vitro washout study. Therefore, clofarabine was de-prioritized as an agent to treat ependymoma, and further preclinical studies were not pursued.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors Clofarabine

Kievit FM, Stephen ZR, Wang K, et al.
Nanoparticle mediated silencing of DNA repair sensitizes pediatric brain tumor cells to γ-irradiation.
Mol Oncol. 2015; 9(6):1071-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MB) and ependymoma (EP) are the most common pediatric brain tumors, afflicting 3000 children annually. Radiotherapy (RT) is an integral component in the treatment of these tumors; however, the improvement in survival is often accompanied by radiation-induced adverse developmental and psychosocial sequelae. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop strategies that can increase the sensitivity of brain tumors cells to RT while sparing adjacent healthy brain tissue. Apurinic endonuclease 1 (Ape1), an enzyme in the base excision repair pathway, has been implicated in radiation resistance in cancer. Pharmacological and specificity limitations inherent to small molecule inhibitors of Ape1 have hindered their clinical development. Here we report on a nanoparticle (NP) based siRNA delivery vehicle for knocking down Ape1 expression and sensitizing pediatric brain tumor cells to RT. The NP comprises a superparamagnetic iron oxide core coated with a biocompatible, biodegradable coating of chitosan, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and polyethyleneimine (PEI) that is able to bind and protect siRNA from degradation and to deliver siRNA to the perinuclear region of target cells. NPs loaded with siRNA against Ape1 (NP:siApe1) knocked down Ape1 expression over 75% in MB and EP cells, and reduced Ape1 activity by 80%. This reduction in Ape1 activity correlated with increased DNA damage post-irradiation, which resulted in decreased cell survival in clonogenic assays. The sensitization was specific to therapies generating abasic lesions as evidenced by NP:siRNA not increasing sensitivity to paclitaxel, a microtubule disrupting agent. Our results indicate NP-mediated delivery of siApe1 is a promising strategy for circumventing pediatric brain tumor resistance to RT.

Related: Childhood Medulloblastoma / PNET Medulloblastoma APEX1

Sauer H, Wollny C, Oster I, et al.
Severe cyanide poisoning from an alternative medicine treatment with amygdalin and apricot kernels in a 4-year-old child.
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2015; 165(9-10):185-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread in children with cancer and is poorly regulated.
RESULTS: We describe a case of severe cyanide poisoning arising from CAM use. A severely agitated, encephalopathic, unresponsive 4-year-old boy (initial Glasgow Coma Scale of 3) with a history of metastatic ependymoma was brought to our emergency department by ambulance services. Initial blood gas analysis demonstrated severe metabolic/lactic acidosis. On detailed questioning of the parents, the use of CAM including intravenous and oral "vitamin B 17" (amygdalin) and oral apricot kernel was reported. After administering sodium thiosulfate, rapid improvement in his medical condition with complete recovery without need for further intensive care treatment was seen. Serum cyanide level was markedly elevated.
CONCLUSIONS: Cyanide poisoning can be the cause of severe encephalopathy in children receiving CAM treatment with substances containing cyanogenic glycosides.

Related: Complementary Therapies

Li AM, Dunham C, Tabori U, et al.
EZH2 expression is a prognostic factor in childhood intracranial ependymoma: a Canadian Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium study.
Cancer. 2015; 121(9):1499-507 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The cure rate for childhood intracranial ependymoma is approximately 70% in the setting of a gross total resection followed by radiation, but management remains challenging in patients with residual disease. Therefore, robust biomarkers are needed to guide the development of new targeted therapy. The authors evaluated the expression of several biomarkers in pediatric intracranial ependymoma and observed that the expression of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a polycomb complex protein involved in epigenetic regulation of gene expression, was independently associated with poor survival.
METHODS: Tissue microarray immunostaining was performed on 180 ependymoma samples from 12 of 16 Canadian pediatric centers. Expression levels of EZH2, Ki-67, B lymphoma Moloney-murine leukemia virus insertion region 1 homolog, tumor protein 16 (P16), Y-box binding protein 1, phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAKT), and epidermal growth factor receptor were evaluated. Cox regression analyses were performed, and the Kaplan-Meier method was used to construct survival curves.
RESULTS: EZH2 expressed in 16% of tumors was associated with inferior 5-year overall survival. Ki-67 and pAKT levels were associated with a poor outcome in patients with posterior fossa ependymoma, and the absence of P16 was associated with a poor outcome in patients with supratentorial ependymoma. Multivariate analysis revealed that younger age and EZH2 expression (95% confidence interval, 1.1-36.0) were independent markers of a poor prognosis.
CONCLUSIONS: EZH2 is a novel, independent marker of a poor prognosis in patients with ependymoma, especially in those who have tumors located in the posterior fossa. EZH2, pAKT, and P16 are potential therapeutic targets, particularly for patients who have tumors in which standard gross total resection plus fractionated radiotherapy is not feasible.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors EZH2

McLendon RE, Lipp E, Satterfield D, et al.
Prognostic marker analysis in pediatric intracranial ependymomas.
J Neurooncol. 2015; 122(2):255-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histologic grading methods dependent upon H&E staining review have not been shown to reliably predict survival in children with intracranial ependymomas due to the subjectivity of the analytical methods. We hypothesized that the immunohistochemical detection of MIB-1, Tenascin C, CD34, VEGF, and CA IX may represent objective markers of post-operative survival (Progression Free and Overall Survival; PFS, OS) in these patients. Intracranial ependymomas from patients aged 22 years or less were studied. The original histologic grade was recorded, H&E sections were reviewed for vascular proliferation status, and immunohistochemistry was used to determine MIB-1, Tenascin C, CD34, VEGF, and CA IX status. Based upon the World Health Organization (WHO) grading system, 3 Grade I, 18 Grade II and 9 Grade III ependymomas were studied. Median follow-up time was 9.0 years; median PFS was, 6.1 years. Original WHO grade did not correlate with PFS or OS. Peri-necrotic CA IX localization correlated with PFS (Log rank = 0.0181) and OS (Log rank p = 0.0015). All patients with a CA IX ≤ 5 % total area localization were alive at last follow-up. Perinecrotic CA IX staining was also associated with vascular proliferation (p = 0.006), though not with VEGF expression score. MIB-1 labeling index (LI) correlated with OS (HR 1.06, 95 % CI 1.01, 1.12) and PFS (HR 1.08, 95 % CI 1.02, 1.14). MIB-1 LI and perinecrotic CA IX individually correlated with PFS. The effect of perinecrotic CA IX remained when grade was added to a Cox model predicting PFS. Immunodetection of CA IX and MIB-1 expression are predictive biomarkers for survival in children with posterior fossa ependymomas. These markers represent objective indicators of survival that supplement H&E grading alone.

Related: Monoclonal Antibodies Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors VEGFA

Lin Y, Jea A, Melkonian SC, Lam S
Treatment of pediatric Grade II spinal ependymomas: a population-based study.
J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2015; 15(3):243-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECT: Grade II spinal cord ependymomas occurring in pediatric patients are exceptionally rare neoplasms. In this paper the authors use a national cancer database to determine patient demographics, treatment patterns, and associated outcomes of this cohort.
METHODS: The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database was used to analyze subjects younger than 18 years with histologically confirmed diagnoses of Grade II spinal cord ependymoma from the years 1973 to 2008. Descriptive data on the demographic characteristics of this cohort and the associated treatment patterns are shown. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival at 1, 2, 5, and 10 years.
RESULTS: This cohort comprised 64 pediatric subjects with Grade II spinal ependymoma. The median age was 13 years, nearly half of the patients were male, and most were white (84%). The median follow-up was 9.2 years. Overall survival at 5 and 10 years was 86% and 83%, respectively. Gross-total resection was achieved in 57% of subjects, and radiation therapy was administered to 36%. Radiation therapy was administered to 78% of subjects after subtotal resection but only to 19% of patients after gross-total resection; this difference was significant (p < 0.001). In a multivariate regression model analyzing sex, age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, radiotherapy, and extent of resection, female sex was found to be an independent predictor of decreased mortality (HR 0.15 [95% CI 0.02-0.94], p = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: These data show long-term outcomes for pediatric patients with Grade II spinal ependymoma. Radiotherapy was more likely to be administered in cases of subtotal resection than in cases of gross-total resection. Female sex is associated with decreased mortality, while other demographic or treatment modalities are not.

Related: USA

Ailon T, Dunham C, Carret AS, et al.
The role of resection alone in select children with intracranial ependymoma: the Canadian Pediatric Brain Tumour Consortium experience.
Childs Nerv Syst. 2015; 31(1):57-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Gross total resection (GTR) of intracranial ependymoma is an accepted goal. More controversial is radiotherapy deferral. This study reports on children treated with gross total resection who did not receive upfront adjuvant radiotherapy.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of children with intracranial ependymoma in 12 Canadian centers. Patients who had GTR of their tumor and no upfront radiotherapy were identified. Immunostaining was performed for Ki-67, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and EZH2 on archived tissue. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed and compared with those who had GTR followed by radiation.
RESULTS: Twenty-six children were identified treated with GTR alone at diagnosis; 12 posterior fossa ependymoma (PFE) WHO grade II, and 14 supratentorial ependymoma (STE). Progression-free survival (PFS) in ependymoma treated with GTR alone at diagnosis was inferior in those with high Ki-67 or positive EZH2 immunostaining. Survival was inferior for patients less than 2 years old at diagnosis (p = 0.002). Survival was comparable to PFE WHO grade II and STE who had GTR followed by radiation (p = 0.62). Five-year PFS and overall survival (OS) of those treated with GTR alone were 60 and 70% respectively for PFE and 45 and 70% respectively for STE (p = 0.2; 0.55).
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that there is a subset of children with certain biologic features who, in the setting of a prospective clinical trial, might be candidates for observation following GTR. Good risk factors for this approach include age of 2 years or older, low Ki-67, and negative EZH2. If relapse occurs, it may be confined to the primary site, allowing for possible salvage with GTR followed by XRT.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors Canada MKI67 EZH2

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